Thursday, April 30, 2009

Three Months in a Row!

I did it! Another month, another NaBloPoMo success. Three months in a row. 89 consecutive days. Are you getting tired of me yet? : )

There's a 70% chance of precipitation this Saturday. You know what that means? I'll be car-hopping in the rain! Ugh!

In one month, God willing, Jeff will be a high school graduate. Where has the time gone?!

I only have to work six hours tomorrow. And I'm pretty darn excited about it!

The library just got in the latest James Patterson novel, The 8th Confession. And they called ME to see if I wanted to read it first since I'm such a huge fan. I picked it up today. I can't wait to start it!

I have 42 days to finish an online Project Management course (PM201E). My 42 days started on April 8th. I've put next to NO TIME into that course. Time to GET BUSY! Not finishing it on time is NOT an option! I took PM101E last year and finished in 29 days with about 30 hours of work involved. So, I'm hopeful that I can knock this one out. A couple hours every day. Or a few hours every weekend day. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. I can... [sigh]

I have raised $907.50 for the Martin County Relay for Life!

Did you know that the National Day of Prayer is one week from today? The theme this year is "Prayer...America's Hope". Our local event is at the high school auditorium at 6pm (I think).

Today at lunch, we were talking about the swine flu pandemic. One of the men at the table said that 30,000 people die of the flu every year. Not necessarily swine flu, but a version of the flu. I did not know this little factoid, if in fact it is actually a fact. So he didn't understand why they were making such a big deal of this strain of flu. He pretty much thought that the media was hyping this up to generate news... perhaps to take our minds off the economy?

Did I mention that I only have to work six hours tomorrow?!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taco Bell Commercials

Okay, I know this is a petty thing. But I have to point out a couple of issues I have with a couple of the latest Taco Bell commercials.

In one of them, there are two guys waiting in line to enter an event. I can't even remember what the event is. A movie or a ballgame. Who knows?! But one of the guys is dressed like a pregnant woman. Yes, that is strange. But that's not even my point in calling them out.

The reason this man is dressed like a woman is so that he can hide his snacks in the bubble that is his pregnant belly. Again, strange. But again, not my point.

He's all excited about Taco Bell's nacho options. And at one point he says something like, "Triple Layer Nachos, Beefy 5-Layer Nachos, and 7-Layer Dip Nachos... ALL for under a buck."

Ummm, NOT true. They are EACH available for under a buck. To get them ALL, you're going to pay at least $2.67. I know it's just semantics. But it annoys me.

In a separate commercial, there are two guys eating the Taco Bell Taco Salad. And they're so concerned with finding the lettuce. They can't seem to find the lettuce. And holy cow, it must not be a salad if it doesn't have lettuce!

Says who?! Potato salad has no lettuce. Egg salad, no lettuce. FRUIT salad, no lettuce. Ham salad, tuna salad, chicken salad.... uh-huh, you got it. NO LETTUCE. What's the deal with them thinking that lettuce makes the salad?

Okay, so I find a couple of their commercials a bit annoying. But I still think they have a great catch-phrase... THINK OUTSIDE THE BUN!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Experience Pontiac - NOT!

Pontiac is style. Pontiac is performance. Pontiac is culture. Pontiac is music. Pontiac is CAR.

Yeah, and Pontiac is no more.


Pontiac Statement
April 27, 2008, 7 am

Pontiac brand to be phased out as part of GM’s more aggressive restructuring efforts

Since its inception in 1926, Pontiac has been known for delivering vehicles with both performance and value. Over the past several years, the brand has been closely associated first with GMC and then with Buick.

Statement attributable to Susan Docherty, GM North American Vice President, Buick-Pontiac-GMC:

“Anyone who has been associated with the Pontiac brand knows that this was a difficult decision. Pontiac has had a rich and storied history, but unfortunately, despite the efforts of all concerned, the brand has been unprofitable over the past several years. We had hoped in our February 17 Viability Plan to convert Pontiac to a niche brand within the Buick-Pontiac-GMC channel.

However, the Viability Plan as submitted was not acceptable. GM was further challenged to take more significant restructuring actions which would allow the company to be viable even in these unprecedented market conditions and in any future cyclical market downturns. These restructuring actions require further sacrifice by all stakeholders: GM employees, suppliers, investors and dealers.

As part of these renewed restructuring efforts, we spent considerable time formulating Pontiac portfolio scenarios that would allow the brand to be sustainable and profitable long term. Unfortunately after careful evaluation, none of these scenarios proved viable.

Therefore, GM is announcing the phase out of the Pontiac brand by year end 2010. This action will allow General Motors to devote its limited capital and other resources to GM’s four core brands: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.”

I purchased my first Pontiac about 13 months ago. I don't love it as much as I loved my Impala. And now I know I couldn't get another one even if I actually wanted it. Well, not a new one anyway. But the website assures me that I could get warranty coverage, parts, and maintenance at any GMC-Buick dealership. Hopefully it doesn't become a problem.

Monday, April 27, 2009

There's something about Mondays...

Okay, so Mondays doesn't really KILL me. But suffice it to say, I'm not a big fan.

I don't sleep well Sunday nights. I don't hit the ground running when I get to the office. It takes me literally HOURS to feel 100%. Until then, I keep repeating things to myself. I second guess myself. I find myself overwhelmed if I have more than 2-3 things in front of me that I need to accomplish. And I can't wait to come home and just go to bed.

It doesn't really matter what else I need to accomplish on a Monday night. After "House", I can't wait to fall asleep. I try not to schedule anything on Monday nights just so I can get a good night's sleep... recover from Monday, prepare for Tuesday.

Then not surprisingly, Tuesday's are oh-so-much better. I'm sure it's because I feel that I've survived another Monday. It could be because I forced myself to get more sleep Monday night. I wouldn't even be surprised if a lot of it is in my head. I just know that Tuesday will be a much more productive, organized, enjoyable day for me.

I look forward to Tuesday. I don't look forward to Monday.

So, I often say that on Monday's I should just sleep in, call in sick, avoid my normal, unpleasant Monday experience. But then it would probably just ruin my Tuesday. And we can't have that.

I'm going to bed. It's almost Tuesday!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Random Stuff

I was a Bea Arthur fan. Of the four Golden Girls, she's the one I could most relate to... intelligent, single, confident, little social life, tempted to correct other people's English. : ) She passed away yesterday. Rest in peace, Dorothy Zbornak.

Do you ever dream about your children? I dream about Jeff pretty regularly. And of those dreams that I remember, he was a small child in every one. A toddler or a baby, actually. I dreamt about him again this morning. I don't remember much about the dream. But Jeff was probably 18 months old. He was wearing a white onesie... You know, the little t-shirts that snap at the crotch. And he was laughing. Someone was holding him like he was flying though the air. I don't remember who. I just remember he must have been enjoying it, because he was laughing.

My mom said that perhaps in my subconscious, I still consider him a baby. I don't know. But I always wake up reminiscing about that little boy. Sometimes I desire the opportunity to relive those days.

This evening, Jeff and I are watching a 007 movie, Quantum of Solace. I have to admit, I don't really know a whole heck of a lot about what's going on. They've been in several countries. There seem to be a ton of characters. And it's frustrating the heck out of me that they keep speaking in foreign languages without giving us sub-titles. I'll bet that a good 25% of this movie is in a language that I can't comprehend. It's very annoying. If I was enjoying it AT ALL, I might watch it 2-3 more times just to know what the heck is going on. As it stands, I'm looking forward to the end of this one.

Only 90 days until our 20 year class reunion. And today, we had a very good, very productive committee meeting. I've really slacked the last month. But thankfully, everyone else has really been on the ball.

I wish the same could be said for my Relay team. So far, NO ONE has stepped up to help out car-hopping next weekend. In fact, only one person responded to my email...and she said she couldn't help. I've already told Jeff that's he's been drafted. He'd rather stay behind the counter. But he may not have that luxury. If I could just get one more person to volunteer, and even if it was just from 11-1, I'd feel much better about the whole thing. As it stands, I'm praying that God gives me the strength and patience to handle the day. I need to be on my feet for nearly six hours straight. I need to do a job that I only do once a year. I need to not adversely affect the restaurant's business. And I hope to raise plenty of funds for Relay for Life.

On the bright side... Less than one hour after my shift ends, I'll be cantering at mass. By the end of mass (as long as I don't totally foul up), I'll feel MUCH better. Mass always brings me peace. And I love to sing. It's very centering. So, even though I totally expect my day to be very stressful, God has built in an immediate medicinal, spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical remedy for me. I should sleep VERY well Saturday night. Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Wind

Does anyone else think it's windy ALL the time. In the last year or so, it just seems that if it's cold, it's windy... if it's warm, it's windy... if it's raining, it's windy. The wind just always seems to be blowing.

I'm not sure what it is. The trees are always flailing. We have to pick up sticks and such before mowing every week. You'd think we lived along the shore somewhere.

Sometimes I don't mind it. But man, sometimes it gets annoying... and LOUD.

But I've been thinking about it. We should take advantage of the wind. Turn it into energy. Between the sun and the wind, we could save a lot of fossil fuels. Making the planet greener.

I know I'm not the first person who's thought of it. And I'm not even sure how to do that one house at a time. But I think we should put some serious thought into it. Then, instead of wondering WHY it was windy all the time, I'd pray for more wind. : )

Friday, April 24, 2009

Guess what I did today...

I slept in, paid some bills online, typed up my class reunion meeting minutes from a month ago, picked up a few pictures from our family picture sitting months ago, checked the mail, stopped by the credit union, dropped off a Pizza Pizza order form to a friend's office, had a prescription filled for Jay, picked up lunch for Jay and dropped it off at the school, read quite a bit, washed the car, and put down a deposit for a cruise to the Bahamas!
Yeah, that's what I said. A cruise! To the Bahamas! WooHoo! I've never been on a cruise before, but it's kinda been my dream vacation. I'm going with my cousin and two of her friends, that I've met a couple of times before. We're not going until February, so I have plenty of time to get a passport. But I'm already excited about it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Calendar Day

Once again, according to my Franklin Covey day planner, today is Administrative Professionals Day. There's a teeny tiny little R in a circle. When I look at the bottom of the calendar page, I read this...

Administrative Professionals Day is a registered trademark of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

Does anyone else think it's strange that an organization creates a day to honor it's members, puts it on a public calendar, and then trademarks the name of the day? I find that a little self-indulgent. Not that I don't fully appreciate the Administrative Professionals in my life. But still...

So, lucky for me, it's also EARTH DAY!

Isn't that a gorgeous picture?!

I got the following from

Earth Day 2009, April 22, will mark the beginning of The Green Generation Campaign TM which will also be the focus of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2010. With negotiations for a new global climate agreement coming up in December, Earth Day 2009 must be a day of action and civic participation, to defend The Green Generation’s core principles:

  • A carbon-free future based on renewable energy that will end our common dependency on fossil fuels, including coal.
  • An individual’s commitment to responsible, sustainable consumption.
  • Creation of a new green economy that lifts people out of poverty by creating millions of quality green jobs and transforms the global education system into a green one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Holocaust Remembrance Day

According to my Franklin Covey day planner, today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

I wasn't alive during the Holocaust, so I don't have my own memories of that event. Much like I wasn't alive the day of JFK's assassination or the moment the first American set foot on the moon. But I do believe they all happened.

I don't have any idea if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or if there was some huge conspiracy behind it. But I don't think there's any question that John F. Kennedy was assassinated and that Lee Harvey Oswald was involved. I guess I sometimes wonder IF the conspiracies surrounding this death are true and why there need for such a cover-up if there is. But it doesn't change the fact that President Kennedy was killed.

I know there are conspiracy theorists that think that mankind has never been in space or stepped down on the moon and that it was all filmed in a movie studio. But I choose to believe that Neil Armstrong was actually there and that there is a fundamental purpose to NASA.

And there are certain people, a few countries, and various cultures that refuse to believe that the Holocaust ever occurred. Whereas I'd love to believe that we as a people aren't evil enough to do something so gruesome and hideous, that doesn't make it true. I believe that hundreds of thousands of people, primarily Jews, were sent to concentration camps, used as slave labor, treated horribly, separated from their loved ones and their possessions, and were ultimately exterminated. It's a very sad chapter in the history of humanity. But I believe it happened.

Have you ever read the book, "Night" by Elie (Eliezer) Wiesel? I read it at my son's suggestion. He checked it out of the school library as one of those books he could read for their reading program. He found it so moving, he suggested I read it as well.

"Night" was not the first book to detail the experiences of a Holocaust survivor, but it has become one of the most widely read, if not the most read book on the Holocaust.

The main character and narrator of the story, Elie Wiesel is fifteen years old when he is taken to the Nazi concentration camps. Elie and his father support each other throughout their internment. Elie's father dies before the liberation, but Elie becomes a survivor and witness of the death camps. Elie's narrative recounts the horrors of his nightmarish Holocaust experience.

Elie was born in 1928, was moved to a concentration camp in 1943, and wrote the book ten years after being freed, at the impressionable age of 28.

Just to give you an idea, here are a couple of quotes from the book:

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed....Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never." Chapter 3, page 32

"'I've got more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He's the only one who's kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people.'" Chapter 5, page 77

Monday, April 20, 2009

Remember this guy...

Okay, last summer while making a quick trip to the local grocery store, I ran into this guy.

Well, I can't believe it, but I ran into him again! Really, I don't know him. But I know it was the same guy, because...


Today's Conversation

This Guy: Excuse me, ma'am?

Me: Yes?

This Guy: Do you like cucumbers?

Me: {no way, it's that guy!} Yes...

This Guy: I have this wonderful cucumber salad recipe.

Me: Believe it or not, you've described this to me before.

Well, that didn't stop him.

This Guy: Take three cucumbers, a small onion, sugar, and vinegar or salad dressing. (sorry, I can't remember. I was too freaked out that I'd run into this guy again in the produce section of our local grocery store!)

He finishes by telling me that I should really try it...AND a Fuji apple, as those are his favorites.

I swear, I'm never eating fresh vegetables again!

Okay, that's not true. But don't think I won't scope out the fruits and veggies from afar!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

To Do List

I think that one of the main reasons I hate Sunday nights isn't because I don't want to go to work Monday morning. Not really, anyway. I think it's mostly because I'm frustrated with myself for everything I DIDN'T do all weekend. So, here it is 11pm and I'm wondering if there's anything on my list that I can quickly knock out before going to bed. Outside of starting a load of laundry, probably not.

Things I intended to accomplish this weekend and didn't...
  • clean out my car
  • thank-you cards and receipts to Relay for Life donors
  • type up last month's class reunion committee meeting minutes (finally!)
  • start my PM201E course (finally!)
  • laundry
  • walk... twice!
  • work-work that I brought home with me
  • go to the high school musical

But it's not that I didn't do ANYTHING. Things I DID accomplish this weekend...

  • slept in once - I make sure I do this every weekend for sanity purposes. I strongly suggest it for everyone!
  • dropped off Locks of Love hair for three different girls
  • delivered Pizza Pizza order forms to four team members
  • signed up a new Relay for Life team member
  • sold 10 Pizza Pizza items, raising another $50 for Relay
  • went to my cousin's baby shower
  • first bought a baby shower gift, wrapped it, and made a cute little pink card to go with it
  • read...A LOT! Another mental health hobby
  • sang at mass
  • had dinner with the folks...twice!

Yeah, I pretty much slacked off all weekend. Maybe next weekend will be more productive. It should be since it'll be starting on Friday!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We Walk by Faith

We had an absolutely GORGEOUS day in southern Indiana today. My favorite day of the year thus far... BY far!

This evening, I was the canter at mass. That just means that even though everyone is welcome to sing, and most of them do, I was the one with the microphone.

I was asked to sing a song I'd never sung before. But it went PERFECTLY with the Gospel tonight. (Oh, and for any of you reading this that actually heard me sing at mass, I'm REALLY sorry for my poor rendition of "How Can I Keep from Singing". Ugh, it was... NOT good.)

Tonight's Gospel
John 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see My hands, and bring your hand and put it into My side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in His name.

We Walk by Faith

We walk by faith, and not by sight.
No gracious words we hear
of Him who spoke as none e'er spoke,
but we believe Him near.

We may not touch His hands and side,
nor follow where He trod;
yet in His promise we rejoice
and cry "My Lord and God!"

Help then, O Lord, our unbelief,
and may our faith abound,
to call on You when You are near,
and seek where You are found.

That when our life of faith is done
in realms of clearer light
we may behold You as You are
in full and endless sight.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pizza - Pizza!

Come and get it! You know you want some!

Our Relay for Life team is selling
Little Caesar's Pizza Kits! We'll be taking orders until May 1st. The pizzas will be in approximately two weeks later.

The kits arrive ready to bake, but they can also be frozen. So, consider stocking up!

The pizza kits come with all the ingredients necessary to make multiple pizzas. For example, if you order the Pepperoni Pizza Kit, you get 3 12" pizza crusts, 3 packages of pizza sauce, 3 packages of pizza cheese, and 3 packages of pepperoni.

In addition to pizzas of different shapes, sizes, and toppings, we're also selling four gourmet salads, three crazy bread kits, two delicious pies, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Okay, no partridge; no pear tree.

BUT you can get all the dipping sauces you want and even four kinds of cookies for dessert!

Salad kits include 16 salads.

Cookie kits make 50 cookies.

Pie kits make 2 pies.
Yum yum!

The best part? Relay gets $5 for every item we sell.

So, give me a call, leave a comment, or drop me an email!
Stock up for those nights you don't want to cook!
And help support Relay for Life!


cell 296-7152

Thursday, April 16, 2009

RIP Emerson

I have this little television with an attached VCR that I got for Jeff several years ago. He used it to play video games mostly. When he moved to his dad's a few years ago, I moved the TV into my room. I used that little TV nearly every night.

No, not to play video games! To watch my old VHS tapes.

I live across the street from our local high school. I have for nearly seven years. In an effort to drown out the sounds of teenagers and their cars every night as I try to sleep, I usually put in a movie. I always see the beginning of the movie, rarely see the end. But the movie is usually just enough noise to mask the sounds from outside without keeping me awake. My very own 'sound machine.'

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I couldn't get the little TV to come on. I tried several things to figure out what the problem was. Unplugging it from the power strip and plugging it directly into the wall. Ensuring that the power cord hadn't come loose from the back of the TV. I even checked to see if the on/off button was no longer working by trying to access the TV using the remote. But no, nothing. Emerson would not talk to me. (I know its name is Emerson because that's what it says right across the front under the TV screen.)

Even Jeff came in to play with the one little cord that comes out of Emerson's body, to see if there was a short or something. But still, no talking, no picture.

It's possible that Emerson is just old and died. I mean, I probably got it seven years ago and it's been moved around and probably had game system controllers thrown at it regularly. But there was no warning of imminent death. Tuesday night, I watched "The Shawshank Redemption" until I fell asleep. Wednesday night, nothing.

Lucky for me, I still slept well. I hope that continues.

Unfortunately, Emerson has to move out to the garage. It's just wasting space and is a constant tease sitting right there at the end of my bed like that. RIP Emerson. You served well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ten Questions

As I do everyday, I visited the featured blogger on the Secret Is in the Sauce. Blicky Kitty has a post about James Lipton, which made me think of the ten questions associated to his show. So, I'm going with that for my post today.

Here are the ten questions (actually compiled by Bernard Pivot) that James Lipton asks every guest on Inside the Actors Studio... along with my responses.

1. What is your favorite word?

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on?

4. What turns you off?
mean people (which really makes me sick when I find myself being mean)

5. What is your favorite curse word?
DAMN! (According to one of my writing professors in college, the keys to technical writing are as easy as ABC - Accuracy, Brevity, and Clarity. And every period means DAMN IT.)

6. What sound or noise do you love?

7. What sound or noise do you hate?
a pounding kind of knocking at my door

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

9. What profession would you not like to attempt?

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
(what do you mean, IF?!) Welcome home, My good and faithful servant!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

LOOOONG Letter to a Teenager

***I have to admit, I didn't write this. At a time when I was really, REALLY down emotionally and struggling with my teenager, a friend took all of my thoughts, added some wisdom, and sent me this letter to give to my teenager. I'm thinking about delivering it again.***

You know, you're my son and I love you to pieces. I know we haven't lived the lives of kings and princes, but I have to say that in all things, and at every time, I have tried the best that I can within my personal abilities.

I've tried to show you a way of living that I know will bring the best possibilities of the future to YOUR life. You're just going to have to reconcile with that in the best way you know how to, according to YOUR own abilities.

So as you go on in your journey, there are a few things I need for you to realize.

First of all, the bigger part of your life, I don't have any control over.

I can help you decide where to rest your head tonight and put some clothes on you so you don't have to run around naked, and give you some money for some food so you're not hungry this afternoon, and may give you some direction as to where to go to get good information and education for yourself. But that's about all I can really do.

After that, it's all you, buddy. I can't tell you how to think, where to go, who to like, what to like and how to act. So I'm just going to impart a few truths on ya. What you do with them is your decision. You're a smart kid, so let's talk about the bigger picture of life. I think you can handle it.

God in His pure goodness loves you ...yes, I mean YOU...more than your smart brain can even conceive.

In order to see what I'm talking about here, you need to have the ability to take a giant step backward and try to look at your life and the world from far if it were really small sitting on the kitchen table or something. That's also a difficult thing for people in their teen years to do because, quite frankly, they've not reached that point in their human development where they can see past "me" all the time.

If you actually watched yourself for a day and took a stopwatch and counted the number of minutes you spend thinking about you and yourself and your situation, as opposed to time thought about other people and their problems and how you can help them, you would know what I mean.

Look at how you spend your time thinking and acting. You only have so much time, Jeff. You're not going to last forever. Only you can decide how you want to spend each and every minute of your life.

Secondly, you need to realize that you are hormonal.

Essentially what this means for you right now is that every emotion that you would normally feel as a younger child or as an adult is multiplied by about 30.

Whatever it is that you are feeling at a given time, you will feel with more passion than you really want to. If you're angry, you'll get REALLY angry. If you're sad, you'll feel REALLY sad. If you're in love, you'll feel REALLY in love. If you're lonely, you'll feel REALLY lonely.

This is a product of just being the age that you are right now. It's called "teenage years" and it will pass. It's like having the measles for 6-7 years. It will get better, I promise. Unfortunately, we all had to go through it.

The thing you have to do is be able to navigate your way through this perilous time without causing any permanent damage. How do you do that???

Words and actions are weapons and they can kill or cure. A lot of teenagers at this time in their lives let their bodies take over because their souls haven't been nurtured and aren't strong enough to be in charge.

They also let their hormonal selves react strongly to whatever is going on around them. It's like scratching a bad itch. So they yell at their parents, they drink, smoke, do drugs, sex, blah, blah, blah. And when they realize that these things aren't really helping...when they still don't feel the glow of inner peace and love they are really missing, when they realize they are just messing themselves up even more...they often commit suicide.

Lastly, you need to know that there is a very real struggle going on this world between the forces of good and the forces of evil.

And the evil forces in the world are always there, every minute of the day, trying to make you believe that He and that His goodness doesn't even exist.

They want you to fail. They want you to screw up BIG TIME so that they can dump more and more on you. They want you to acquire bad virtues so they can keep dragging you down farther and farther to be with them and like them.

Obviously, as a mother (you'll understand this someday when you're a father) that's really not where I want to see you go. When I say that I've wanted you to acquire "the best possibilities for your future", essentially, I mean things that are going to really help you ....weapons and tools (per se) to help you get through this life on its perilous paths.

Being a selfish mother, I want the best for my son.

The evil forces of the world want to give you gifts like this:

Doubt (along with fear, one of their BEST weapons and they whisper them into your brain on a daily basis)
"I doubt anybody really loves me. They say they do, but it doesn't feel like they do."
"I couldn't ever get into that great school. It's only for really smart people and my parents could never afford it anyway." (No possibilities are even considered after that point)
"It really doesn't matter what I do, no one cares. No one notices. No one is looking."
"I doubt, I can't, I'm not up to it, I'm not able, I don't believe." This causes people to stop whatever course of action they might have otherwise taken, without even taking the time or putting for the effort to ask for other's input as to the possibilities and potentials. Hope is dimmed.

"If I don't act this certain way, someone will hurt me."
"If I don't wear these clothes like this, people won't like me."
"If I say (or don't say) certain things, this other group of kids won't think I'm cool."
Fear causes people to act in certain ways that they might not otherwise really want to act.

"My parents are idiots. They can't even run their own lives and be successful like some other people I know. How can I expect them to want to run my life?" (There's a little envy mixed in with that statement, too. Can you see it?)
"My teacher is a jerk. I could teach this class better than they could. Why do I bother to show up?"
"I'm the only one that really matters in the world. I'll do what's best for me. Screw everyone else."

"What does it matter if I work the hardest I can on this project or just get by to pass? Nobody will look at my grades anyway. They'll curve the class.
"My parents are the ones who should keep the house clean all the time. After all, it's their house. I just live here."
"I am so tired. I'm not going to church or youth group today. I just don't feel like it."

Greed and Envy (encourage discontentedness with what you have, where you are and who you are)
"Why did this happen to me?"
"They get all the good stuff all the time"
"I don't look as good as THAT person does."

These are just a few examples of bad virtues. They are all negative and discourage things like good communication, humility and kindness.

I want things for you like:

...real inner peace, no matter what your struggles are. This is a crazy, messed up world. God never promised us happiness, but He does offer real joy and peace and contentment, in all your struggles all the time. But it doesn't come naturally. Like everything else in this world, it's something you have to look for and work at… day in and day out.

...wisdom, (the way God sees things) to see the REAL truths that surround you, not what others want you to think, so they can use you for their purposes.

...prudence, to be able to judge correctly when to act and how to act and how much to act....and when not to act... in order so that the future outcome of your actions will have ended up being the best choice possible for you and others in the long run as time unfolds and events in your life are played out.

...temperance, to be able to keep your bodily passions in check. Our bodies are like space-suits that God put over our souls in order so that we can interact with our earthly surroundings. They are pretty nifty little inventions, but they come with a few flaws and defects that give us challenges and get us into trouble from time to time. They get hungry, thirsty, greedy, lustful, lazy, prideful, and envious. Our bodies and souls are held together in a very delicate balance by our will and our integrity.

Our will is composed of our choices. Our integrity is our own ability to hold it all together, to be in control, no matter what our bodies or other people are telling us. Temperance is our ability to fine-tune our actions.

...hope, to keep in the forefront of your mind and heart all that could be, not necessarily what is before you. Creations and inventions are all products of hope.

...self-discipline, to get yourself to do the really hard things that you know are ultimately going to get you to the really great places in life. Like sometimes, a person might go past the lounge at their office first thing in the morning and see the everyday spread of donuts and pastries that is always sitting there.

Initially, their brain might say, “I think that 4 or 5 donuts might be a pretty good thing this morning." But ultimately, they know that their body will be better off if it did not ingest 4-5 donuts every morning 5 days a week all year for 20 years. So self-discipline is called upon to get the body to do the thing that is ultimately going to be the best thing for it.
Certainly, people who are in college understand just how important self-discipline is to the ultimate success of their endeavor to graduate. "Should I party or study? Hmmmmmmm..."

...fortitude, to carry out the actions that require more creativity, ingenuity and guts than the average person on the street has. Successful people nurture the growth of fortitude within themselves. It often causes you to take a deep breath before you take that first step toward whatever goal you are seeking. It feels scary and uncertain at first, and gets easier after it has been affirmed by success. It is gained by reading the ways of other successful people and learning from them. It doesn't always come easy, except to those who might be very needy.

...courage and perseverance, to help you persevere in the things of goodness when it's the hardest...when you don't get instant results...when you can't see the benefit of what you're trying to do right away. Especially to keep doing the right thing when you're tired, hungry, sick, depressed, rejected or oppressed. When these things come about, it gets easy to give in to the bad things.

...FAITH, to believe without seeing that the good you are trying to do really is working. To offer up things to God, trusting that He takes all your good desires and efforts and does with them whatever is ultimately going to be in your best interest and the interests of others.

If you could physically see and know instantly the result of all your actions and prayers, it would be a no-brainer. You wouldn't need faith, would you?

Imagine this. Let's say, for instance, that you prayed a small prayer one morning to God, asking Him that, today could there be a little breakthrough in world peace.

So your angel takes your prayer and places it before the throne of God. Your angel says, "God, Jeff has been having some trouble lately, and he's really inside of himself right now, but this morning, he did something different. He was thinking about the people on the other side of the world who are having trouble just finding a secure place to sleep for the night. I bring a message of hope from him. He wants to know if we can have a peaceful day on earth today."

And God says, "Wow, that's pretty cool. That's what I want too. If only more people would wish for it."

And so, he sends His angel down to, say, Iraq, where another young, angry teenager has just strapped a bomb on to his back and is getting ready to walk into the corner restaurant full of people and end his life and theirs. (Because someone has told him the non-truth that this action will bring world peace and he didn't have the prudence tool to judge whether this is correct or not.)

On his way to the restaurant, the angel sends an old friend of the family into his path who stops him to say that they will be celebrating their daughter's birthday that afternoon, and she would really love it if he could make it to the gathering. She mentions that she will be serving one of his favorite desserts. The young man thinks about it and decides that this will not be the day to end his life after all.

Now you understand completely that your small prayer was directly responsible for the peace that reigned on that street-corner that day and in the world and in the lives of all those people. Think of all the funerals that didn't happen and all the tears that were not cried. So I ask you...would you pray again?

Sure you would. Because you had firsthand knowledge of how things really work, you would pray like it was your job!! People would think you were a maniac. But you would know the truth, and what effect you, Jeff, were personally having on the rest of the world.

But God wants your trust… your complete trust. It takes courage, but He wants it and He rewards it greatly. So He gives us faith to practice.

Now, you can think that all this sounds like a fairy tale, or you can also choose to believe that this is the way it really works, in and outside of time.

But I will add that sometimes the things that are the hardest to believe in, well...they are things we need to believe in the most in life.

The forces of God (good) want you to know all about the tools that are going to bring you REAL happiness and peace...the things I mentioned of Holy Spirit...does this sound familiar?? This is what the Catholic faith, for instance, is REALLY all about.

It's about how much God loves you and wants you to be the best version of yourself you can possibly become, in order so that His dreams for your life may be carried out.

So, what does all this mean for you today? Right now? If you want to begin becoming the best version of yourself, how do you start?

With something very simple. You see, the forces of bad and evil are very smart. Way smarter than we humans. We like to think we're pretty smart, but honestly, we're not. Not their kind of smart. And they notice everything you do. And they encourage you to be just like them.

Now, I'm just a dumb human. But even I can figure out when somebody isn't into the 'good' things in life. Like all the things that God wants for us.

So, if I (capital I) can figure that out, then for sure the big evil guy has also figured that out. And HE knows that if your heart is not open to God, that it IS open to him. And if he can get you to an ugly, evil place, then you will help him get other souls to that ugly, evil place.

So just talk to Jesus. Before you go to sleep, talk to Jesus and re-commit yourself to being HIS guy.

Go to what a cool guy named Matthew Kelly calls the "classroom of silence". Silence is where God speaks directly to you. Especially if you just go sit in a church and talk to Him face to face. He'll tell you more about all the important things than I could ever hope to.

We are given the freedom of many choices in this world. We can want good virtues or bad virtues. And I promise you that what you surround yourself with, you will become. Books, magazines, music, people, words, jobs… they all have a profound effect on shaping and molding our lives.

Pray. Why not give it a try?

Prayer is simply talking to God to find out what it is that He wants for you. You'll never know until you ask.
is week.***

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lego Jesus

Lego Jesus Statue Unveiled At Swedish Church - Central Florida News 13:

Parishioners at a church in Sweden celebrated Easter Sunday by unveiling a 6-foot-tall statue of Jesus built out of 30,000 Lego blocks.

It took 40 volunteers about 18 months to put all the tiny plastic blocks together, and their creation shows a standing Jesus facing forward, with his arms outstretched.

The Protestant church was filled to capacity with about 400 worshippers on Sunday when the statue went on display behind the altar, and some of the children in the congregation could not help but touch the white art work.

Church spokesman Per Wilder said the statue at the Onsta Gryta church in the central Swedish city of Vasteras is a copy of Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s “Christus” statue on display in Copenhagen.

Wilder also said that even though the statue is all white on the outside, many of the donated Legos that the church received were of other colors, and were placed inside.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

It has been a lovely Easter in southern Indiana. We had an absolutely beautiful day.

I slept in a bit. For me, any day that starts with me sleeping in, is a great day. Since I no longer have to worry about hiding Easter eggs or playing Easter Bunny, I get that luxury.

Then I went to mass. Talk about PACKED! I was up in the choir loft. So, I had a great view of everything going on. It was really nice.

I spent the afternoon/evening at my parents' with my family. We are a funny lot! Not like that... I mean, we're hilarious! And we play off each other. So when one of us starts making a joke about something, the next one takes it just a step further. Oh, and you think it's done there. But no. Someone else will come up with the next zinger. I haven't laughed that hard in awhile. My stomach got a great workout tonight. Good times. Oh! And good food, too.

Now I'm exhausted. It's definitely time for bed. I can't stop yawning. And I'm yawning so big, it's hurting my face. This is when one of my siblings would say something about how my face is killing them too. Then I'd come back with something like, "yeah, you'd best be careful as my face is registered as a lethal weapon in 37 states." And someone else would mention that just because my face is on posters in post offices in 37 states, doesn't make me a lethal weapon. You get the idea.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sorry, we're closed.

Okay, I know it's Holy Week and I'm supposed to be basking in gratitude and amazement that Christ died for me and rose again. And I am! But today, I need to vent, just a little bit.

Much like yesterday, I had several errands to run. I stopped by the Post Office to check my mail, purchase stamps, and mail out another 40 Relay for Life donation request letters. I stopped by the Credit Union to pick up cash for the weekend. I stopped by the BMV to renew my license plates.

Note, these three establishments are not known for having the most convenient hours for a working single mother. But I touched base with all three, accomplishing exactly what I needed to accomplish.

There is one other establishment in town that has inconvenient operating hours for someone in my situation. The library. Barring taking time off work, I have until 8pm Monday, three hours every Saturday, and five hours every other Friday to visit our local library.

Today, I made plans to meet with the members of my Relay for Life team at the library. I was going to be there from 10-12, sitting at the big, round table, filling out receipts and writing thank you's to my friends and family who'd already sent donations. My team members were going to stop at their leisure during those two hours
to drop off any donations they've received and to sign their registration forms.

But our library, which is only opened 31 hours a week (most of those between noon and 5pm M-F) was closed today (AND yesterday). So instead of being INSIDE the library at the big, round table, taking care of a couple/few things while waiting for my team members, I sat in my car in their parking lot, reading a book and asking my team to sign their registration forms on the hood of my Grand Prix.

At the same time, I saw at least ten different people stop by the library to attempt to enjoy their Saturday morning there...and then turn around, get back in their cars, and drive away.

Post Office... check!
Credit Union... check!
BMV for heaven's sake!... check!
Library... not so much.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why is it called Good Friday?

I did NOT write this. I got it from Ken Collins' website. (I don't know him; I did a Google search... that's what I do.) But I've always wondered about the Good Friday I thought I'd share what I found.

Calling the day of the Crucifixion ‘Good’ Friday is a designation that is peculiar to the English language. In German, for example, it is called Karfreitag. The Kar part is an obsolete word, the ancestor of the English word care in the sense of cares and woes, and it meant mourning. So in German, it is Mourning Friday. And that is what the disciples did on that day—they mourned. They thought all was lost.

I’ve read that the word good used to have a secondary meaning of holy, but I can’t trace that back in my etymological dictionary. There are a number of cases in set phrases where the words God and good got switched around because of their similarity. One case was the phrase God be with you, which today is just good-bye. So perhaps Good Friday was originally God’s Friday. But I think we call it Good Friday because, in pious retrospect, all that tragedy brought about the greatest good there could be.

I can see virtue in either terminology. If we call it Mourning Friday, as in German, we are facing reality head on, taking up the cross if you will, fully conscious that the Christian walk is seldom a walk in the park. But if we call it Good Friday, as in English, we are confessing the Christian hope that no tragedy—not even death—can overwhelm God’s providence, love, and grace. Either way seems fine to me!

I have had a VERY good Good Friday. I slept in, paid some bills online, ran a few errands including picking up my new glasses (finally!), went to Good Friday services with Jeff (HIS idea, not mine!), and STILL haven't checked my BlackBerry (work email). It's been a very good day.

Good Friday is the only day of the year that there is never an actual mass in the Catholic church. We still have a service, but not an official mass. Everyone is to enter the church in silence; there isn't even an entrance song. We leave in the same solemn manner. While there, we hear the story of the Passion, individually venerate (revere) the cross by kissing it, bowing or genuflecting before it, and then share in Holy Communion (that was transubstantiated on Holy Thursday).

An additional blessing was that today's service was practically packed! A 1pm service on a Friday afternoon and there were so many people there. It was amazing! I love Holy Week!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eucharistic Adoration

After an especially busy, mentally exhausting week, I was truly looking forward to this three-day weekend. But this isn't just my average three-day weekend that comes every other weekend. This is RESURRECTION WEEK! Today is Holy Thursday.

I love it when I get the opportunity to go to mass after work. My current job isn't nearly as stressful as my previous position. So, in my last job, I felt the need to go to mass after work regularly. Now, I simply enjoy the practice. It's just so peaceful and centering. And being that it's Holy Thursday, I was able to go to mass this evening. It was very nice...and quite a crowd considering it was a Thursday.

After mass... actually there is no 'end' to Holy Thursday mass... it simply continues on to the Good Friday service... but at the end of tonight's service, the Eucharist was left on the altar in a monstrance for adoration. We call this Eucharistic Adoration. Our church does it fairly regularly on Thursdays. Some churches do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We call that Perpetual Adoration.

I got much of the following from
Wikipedia, which isn't really an authoritative source being that it's written by the you's and me's of the world. But it's written in layman's terms, so I'm going with it.

Adoration is a sign of devotion to and worship of Jesus Christ, who is believed by many Christians to be present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, under the appearance of the consecrated host, represented by hosts or bread.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, at the moment of Consecration (solemn or sacred dedication) the elements (or "gifts" as they are normally termed for liturgical purposes) are transformed (via Transubstantiation) into the actual Body and Blood of Christ. Catholic doctrine holds that the elements are not only spiritually transformed, but rather are actually (substantially) transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. It is held that although the elements retain the appearance of bread and wine, they are indeed the actual Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ.

This is one form of the doctrine of Real Presence—the actual, substantive presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Because Roman Catholics believe that Christ is truly present (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) in the Eucharist, the reserved sacrament serves as a focal point of adoration. This is also the reason that some Catholics, when passing a Catholic church, will do the Sign of the Cross out of respect for Christ physically present in that church.

During the mass, after the consecration, Catholics receive Holy Communion orally. Adoration is normally a separate event. It is not meant to take away from Communion, but to enhance one's relationship with Christ. It is a reminder that Christ is present in our world and is to be adored.

The host is displayed in a monstrance (vessel used to house the Blessed Sacrament, elaborate in design, often shaped like a sunburst with a cross at the top, made of a precious metal), typically placed on an altar. The Blessed Sacrament may not actually be exposed, but left in a ciborium (closed case for protection), which is likewise placed on an altar.

So tonight, after mass... and after dinner and after Jeff left to hang out with his friends... I went back to church to spend time with our Lord. I enjoyed it at least as much as I enjoyed mass with my family.

I took my bible. I was fascinated that the last chapter of Exodus that I read (several months ago!) was the same as tonight's first reading at mass... the story of the Passover. So, I re-read that chapter and read several more. A few people were there in silent prayer. A few people, including some of our youth, were praying the Rosary (devotional, meditative prayer using a strand of beads by the same name).

It was very nice. Like I said, peaceful and centering.

Holy Thursday. The day of the Last Supper, the washing of the feet, and Eucharistic Adoration at my church. Looking forward to what Good Friday has to offer.

My favorite verse that I read tonight:
Exodus 14:14 - God will fight the battle for you; all you need to do is be still.